Buy Nothing Day doesn't mean living less.

Buy Nothing Day is a holiday dear to my heart. Proud as I am to be associated with TreeHugger, I know that ecological products can only do so much. If we really want to change the world, we need to find a truly different way of living.

We must consume much, much less.

So what is my plan to reduce consumption? It's simple, have more perogie parties. I went to my first perogie party three years ago, and I can't stop talking about it.

We started with about a dozen people, none of them particularly close friends, at least not at first. The host was Norman Nawrocki (photo from his website), former Perogie King of Montreal. I don’t know if Perogie King of Montreal is as glorious a title as, say, Perogie King of Winnipeg, but I was impressed. The instructions were easy, bring one perogie ingredient and one bottle of vodka for every two people. I scoffed at the amount of alcohol, thinking it would be impossible to drink that much.The first thing the Perogie King taught us was a little Polish song. We sang the song whenever we achieved anything of even the tiniest significance. We scrubbed the potatoes, sang the song and did a shot of vodka (a small shot, admittedly). We chopped the potatoes, sang the song and did a shot of vodka. We cooked the potatoes, sang the song and did a shot of vodka. We mashed the potatoes, sang the song and did a shot of vodka. By 8:45 we were running out to catch the liquor store before it closed. We repeated this pattern for everything, grating cheese, mixing dough, rolling dough, cutting it into circles. This story ends in a bleary haze, eating one the most delicious meals I have ever had. Subsequent experience shows that the party is just as fun without the vodka.

Life can have its boring moments, long days and hard work, which, as common wisdom goes, we ease by buying gadgets we hope will make it easier. I, and many others, have found another way. Cooking, weeding, strawberry picking, and all the other chores that I hated when I was a teenager, are a lot more fun when you do it with your friends. I have never bought anything, never seen a movie, never driven anywhere that gave me as much pleasure as that perogie party.

Start with perogies and don't stop. Move closer to your friends so you don’t have to drive to visit them. Cook together, work together and, best of all, don’t consume together. (Yes, eating is a form of consumption, but you know what I mean.)

So, here is the perogie recipe. Supply your own friends and beverages.

Dough:

3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
1 egg

Filling:

Use anything your little heart desires. Mashed potato and cheese is always good. Also potato and broccoli. My next one is going to be mashed potato with caramelized onion and blue cheese. I also like to add some fresh-ground pepper to the dough.

Mix flour and salt. Combine egg and milk. Stir into flour mixture. Knead 2-3 minutes on lightly floured counter, until dough feels elastic. Cut dough into six balls. Roll each ball out thin. Use in a plastic perogie maker (I got mine in a thrift shop for 99 cents) or cut out circles with an empty can. Put a tablespoon of filling in center of each circle, fold and seal (it may help to wet the edges slightly). Boil the perogies until they float, then fry with onions and veggie dog slices (or bacon).

Enjoy!

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